Recognized as the most successful musician and composer in the history of pop music by the Guinness Book of World Records — with more than six Grammy awards as a solo artist— Paul McCartney sure knows how to deliver unforgettable tunes, both good and bad.
Born James McCartney, the 74-year-old Liverpool-born ex-Beatle's stellar solo career has included collaborations with wife Linda, his band Wings, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, the Frog Chorus and Rihanna/Kanye West.
Through highs and lows, Sir Paul has never let the threat of a badly received song taper his production — sometimes he delivers classics we want to play on repeat over and over again like "Live and Let Die”, and other times his songs make us want to run and hit the “next” button.
So in honor of the music legend's upcoming performance in Hershey on Tuesday night, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 best and worst Paul McCartney songs that we just can’t get out of our heads. Check them out below.
1. “Live and Let Die” – Wings
"When you were young and your heart was an open book," McCartney sings with soft nostalgic ease, before the song turns into a spy-movie melodramatic—a classic McCartney segue, and one of the James Bond franchise's well known theme songs.
2. “Maybe I'm Amazed” – Paul McCartney and Wings
The best solo love song by the best love songwriter of the rock era, this song definitely takes an award for the most heart-felt track during his post- Beatles career. Fans seemed to agree, and made the song No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks.
3. “Band on the Run” – Paul McCartney and Wings
The title track of Paul McCartney's fifth post-Beatles album was a three-part song, inspired in part by a remark about the business meetings at Apple in 1969. Paul McCartney initially wanted no singles to be taken from Band On The Run, but later relented.
4. “Silly Love Songs” - Paul McCartney and Wings
Written as a tongue-in-cheek response to music critics and his former bandmate and writing partner John Lennon, “Silly Love Songs” spent five weeks weeks total at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Co-written with wife Linda McCartney, “Silly Love Songs” was included on the 1976 album Wings at the Speed of Sound. The song was McCartney’s 27th No. 1 hit.
5. “Jet” – Paul McCartney and Wings
"Jet" was the name of a black Labrador that Paul McCartney and his wife Linda owned — which was also his favorite. Thing is, the song is really about freedom (not about his dog). McCartney did something similar when he used an amusement park ride as the title for a song about madness in "Helter Skelter.”
1. “Temporary Secretary” – McCartney II
This song was the second track on his second solo album and was written from the point of view of a girl from a temping agency, which inspired the typewriter-like sounds in the song. It was recorded in the summer of 1979 and the single was released in 1980 where it sold out in just 16 hours. Regardless of its success, most fans will agree the 3:14 song almost feels like a nails on a chalkboard. Don’t believe us? Listen for yourself and let us know what you think!
2. "Spies Like Us" – Paul McCartney
As a symbolic capstone to McCartney's career as a Billboard-topping pop star, this song was pretty bad. The song was made for the 1985 comedy “Spies Like Us” starring Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. While it works as a song for a movie, we wouldn’t say it’s one of our favorites. By the way, did we mention this song is over 4 minutes long?
3. “Too Many People" – Paul McCartney
From the 1971 album “Ram”, this song will leave you feeling like your head is spinning, and for good reason. The song, “Too Many People” was written as a dig to his former band mate and songwriter John Lennon, as well as Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono. According to McCartney, he felt that John and Yoko were telling everyone what to do. The lyrics read: ‘Too many people preaching practices, Don't let 'em tell you what you wanna be. Too many people holding back, This is crazy, and baby, it's not like me.’
4. "Ebony and Ivory" – Tug of War
Even though it is one of his biggest hits, like the Michael Jackson collaborations, it’s doubtful Paul would ever perform this 1982 duet again. This was a huge hit in the US, staying at #1 for seven weeks. Listeners quickly tired of the song, however, and it got very little radio play after it dropped off the charts. In the following years, the song was often mocked as superficial and maudlin, a stark contrast to the many McCartney and Wonder songs that have stood the test of time.
5. “Wonderful Christmas Time" - McCartney II
This 1979 attempt at a “holiday classic”, for reasons unknown is popular around the Christmas time to this day. Wherever you go, you will hear it. You will instantly recognize spacey chords that most can’t stand sitting and listening to.
If you go
What: Paul McCartney's "One on One" Tour
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 19
Where: Hersheypark Stadium, 100 W. Hershey Drive, Hershey
Tickets: Prices start at $28.60; visit hershey.park-stadium.com or call 717-534-3911